By Renee’ Fulkerson
Help – to give assistance or support. To make more pleasant or bearable improve, relieve and rescue, save. To be of use to
I find it difficult to ask for help unless I am at my wit’s end. And from my experience, I believe others also struggle with asking for help. On the other hand, I have no problem with offering and giving support to others. Which I also find to be true of others around me. Why is it so difficult to ask for help but so easy to give support? I guess no one wants to feel like a burden to another.
Burden – defined as making heavy with a load or with emotion. Something carried a worry or sadness, or a responsibility.
I think this rings true in yoga practice. In a yoga practice, students have experience with the postures. In a yoga class, there is more time and instruction per posture. I enjoy teaching both and encourage students to stop me and ask for help or support in both cases. And sometimes help is needed in everyday life situations too.
Recently a long-time YogAlign student began having some challenges with her knee. She did not want to miss her regular YogAlign classes and continued to show up for classes. Of course, I was thrilled to have her and knew she would need to adjust some of our regularly practiced postures. When getting up and down off the floor, she would need some assistance. These were all easy adjustments I could support her with and, I felt good about doing them. She would always comment not to give her special attention. Or hold up the practice but, it never seemed to be a problem. After all, even though she had temporary challenges with her knee. It did not mean that she would not benefit from the yoga practice. Not showing up for her regular YogAlign practice and connecting with her body, breath and friends would have been a disservice to her healing process. We also added bi-weekly full-body massages to keep her spirits up and relieve her from aching knee pain. I hope you have found a yoga practice/ class where you can ask for help when needed. We all need a little help sometimes.
On my last trip to the mainland, my mom was suffering from debilitating back pain. She had twisted and jarred her back weeks before my visit. Upon arrival, I could see and sense her frustration with limited mobility. I knew she needed help but, would she ask for it? My mom lives alone and, so everything falls on her to do. She had not been able to take care of everyday tasks. And all of the things she likes to accomplish before I arrived. She had been spending most of her time lying down and feeling bad about not feeling good. Even though I am an advocate for moving, she needed to rest. Back pain is no joke! And usually, sleep is unattainable during a back pain flare-up. Without good sleep, coping skills and positive attitudes begin to decline.
When helping someone who suffers from back pain a, pillow under the knees is crucial because a good portion of their time is lying down. And without the pillow or wedge, there is more pressure on the low back. The support is also helpful for knee pain. Pain that occurs in the knee when the knee is kept straight.
Another way I could help my mom was by moving everything up. All of the things she regularly used got moved higher up. So she would not need to keep bending down to retrieve them. The constant pulling on the back from bending over was only going to prolong the healing process. When bending over you, want your knees soft and not locked out utilizing all the gluteal muscles and when coming up pushing: through from the bottom of the feet. With a bit of help, my mom was up and moving more comfortably. She began with short walks in the neighborhood. She began to enjoy lying down with a pillow under her knees and was getting some much-needed rest. When I left, I was confident she was on the road to recovery and, her spirits were up. A little help goes a long way.
I learned the benefits of asking for help recently. I had a pressing task I was not ready to face. I leaned on my husband for support. After a few weeks of my regular meditation, YogAlign practice, and space. I was able to complete the task.
Nobody wants to feel like a burden to themselves or others. Let’s keep showing up for our yoga class/ practice. And ask for help when we need it. We are worth it!